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Elevate Physiotherapy

Foam Rolling – Truths and Myths

Foam rolling is a common tool used nowadays in gyms and clinics. However, there are many claims of what it can do such as breaking up knots or releasing your fascia. In this blog, we will be talking about what rolling does and doesn’t do to you.

What Foam Rolling DOESN’T do

  • DOES NOT break up knots and fascia – Even though it has a similar feeling to a massage, research has shown that the force produced by the foam rolling is not enough to break up these knots in your body. Our body is extraordinarily strong and adaptable as we need to tolerate the daily loads of our life. Studies have shown that close to 900kg of force is needed to change the structure of our muscle.
  • DOES NOT improve long term flexibility – while it slightly improve your flexibility, its effects usually do not last long or affect it enough to provide functional changes to your movement.

What Foam Rolling CAN do

Reducing pain perception – What foam rolling does is reduce pain perception by simply changing your perception of stiffness or pain in your muscles which may be helpful to some individuals. However, its effects vary from person to person and most of its benefits are anecdotal.

How can we do it effectively?

A viable way to implement foam rolling is to use it as a tool as part of your warmup. An effective way to start would be to roll the stiff areas for up to 30 seconds. It should then be paired with an active warm up to use the range of motion that was previously unavailable. This should not be painful and there is no evidence to show that it has any long-term benefits. So, don’t be the person who wastes your time rolling for 40 minutes before you start exercising!

To conclude, foam rolling cannot solve your long-term joint stiffness and tissue soreness. Its overall effects on recovery or performance are very minor and is not an essential or effective way to move and perform well! If you have any more questions about foam rolling or joint stiffness/pain feel free to drop us a message and follow our Instagram page for more.